Beef Quality Assurance Is For All Producers
Dr. Clyde Lane, professor of animal science and University of Tennessee Extension beef cattle specialist
Beef cattle producers should start a Beef Quality Assurance Program on their farm. Beef Quality Assurance involves all those things that can be done when producing cattle that will result in a superior beef product for consumers.
The quality of meat produced by the animals on a producer’s farm starts when breeding animals are selected. Producers should select those animals that will produce desirable carcasses when they come out of the feedlot.
The way animals are cared for while on the farm will also have an effect on the quality of meat produced. Producers need to perform those practices that will keep the animals healthy and productive. A good beef cattle handling facility is needed to prevent bruises and to restrain the animal while necessary health practices are performed. Animals should be handled as gently as possible.
Selection of the type of injections and the site of the injections are also very important items in a quality assurance program. All injections should be given in the neck. Injections should be given just under the skin (subcutaneous) instead of the muscle (intramuscular) if the label on the medication will permit. Do not give injections in the rump. Injections given in this area may cause abscesses or lesions. Producers should follow all instructions on medication labels.
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Natural Service versus Estrous Synchronization and AI
by Ryon S. Walker, Regional Extension Educator – Beef, University of Minnesota
This time of year producers are planning their summer breeding season schedules. In the months prior to the breeding season, producers are fine tuning their herd bull management. Every year the question always sits in the back of most producers’ minds whether they should try using estrus synchronization and artificial insemination (AI) this year. However, the lack of change and a producer’s management goals usually persuade the use of natural service breeding over estrus synchronization and AI from year to year. The question remains, if goals such as length of a calving season, reproduction, growth or carcass performance are being achieved with natural service breeding, why change. Remember there are pros and cons to both natural service versus estrus synchronization and AI. Utilizing natural service requires management of factors affecting fertility of bulls such as nutrition, health, injury and age and having to purchase herd bull replacements of superior quality and genetics can become costly to a producer as well.
Don’t leave cull cow money on the table
Generally, ranchers leave dollars on the table when it comes to marketing their cull cows, says Jeff Carter, an assistant professor in the University of Florida’s North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna. On average, cull cows can produce 10-20% of the total revenue in a beef cow-calf enterprise. Increasing that value by just a third can improve overall ranch revenue by as much as nearly 6%. And as little as a 10% increase in net income from the sales of cull cows would nearly double the overall ranch profit margin.
Thanks to the availability of economical and plentiful byproduct feeds, feeding cull cows can add value to an animal that has otherwise held only salvage value. Cows with a higher body condition score, and more weight, optimize economic returns by delivering both a higher carcass value and a higher live value.
The Cow-Calf Manager: Dealing with Drought Involves Planning
Dr. John B. Hall Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, VA Tech
An important drought management strategy is early pregnancy diagnosis. Within 30 to 45 days of the end of the breeding season, veterinarians can diagnose pregnancy in the herd. Those vets skilled in the use of ultrasound can diagnose pregnancies as early as 25 to 28 days post breeding. Identifying and culling non-pregnant females in midsummer rather than fall will reduce the overall feed requirements of the herd. Reducing pressure on pastures will improve pasture quality and reserve feed for the most productive cows.
Ethanol’s Effects On Cattlemen Offers Many Unknowns
What effect will the rush to ethanol have on cattlemen? There are a lot more questions than answers.
It’s pretty hard to have a conversation nowadays that doesn’t turn, sooner or later, toward ethanol. What about corn prices? Supplement prices? Calf prices? Feeder-cattle prices?
And the answers? Your guess is as good as anybody’s.
There are a few things you can count on, however. The first and most long lasting is that ethanol — the bad and the ugly, as well as the good — is here to stay.
Cattle Preconditioning Forum: Vaccinating & Deworming Bulls
If bulls are housed separately from the cows for most of the year, they are often forgotten and do not receive the same herd health protocol. The herd bulls should be on the same vaccination/deworming schedule as the cows are. Since vaccination schedules vary as much as production systems do, there is no “correct” schedule that everyone should stick with. So, if in doubt, vaccinate and/or deworm your bulls about 2 weeks before they go out to pasture. This will allow for enough time for the vaccine and dewormer to take effect before the bull is exposed to the cows.
Animal emergencies illustrate need for disease traceability system
The Dunn County News (WI)
Recent cases of pseudorabies in Wisconsin swine and a weather emergency in Colorado have demonstrated in real life how premises registration can protect livestock producers, their animals and the livestock industry.
Benefits of premises registration have been “what-if?” scenarios. The need for producers to participate in premises registration is more evident in light of these recent events.
“During the pseudorabies investigation, farms that were registered could be directly contacted and the animals were quickly tested,” said Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) state veterinarian. “We had to go door to door to locate animals at unregistered premises, which slowed down our ability to test for the disease.”
As part of the Wisconsin Premises Registration Act, livestock owners in Wisconsin have registered over 56,000 premises. The goal of the system is to have a comprehensive database of names, phone numbers and species locations to provide animal health officials with a tool to rapidly locate and contact owners of affected premises that may have been exposed to a contagious disease.